I often struggle with the question of whether Odyssey’s work really makes a difference on the bottom line of business. It’s a cynical tension inside of me. To make the question harder to answer, I am also deeply skeptical of metrics that attempt to link soft-skills training or change in behavioral traits to bottom-line business results.
There is a quote that loosely says: “don’t try to measure things that don’t lend themselves well to measurement”. I like that, but still I struggle. It sure would be nice to have pure, non-biased, scientific proof.
It seems that many business leaders share in the desire for proof and many never call or work with us because they can’t see a black and white link on their investment. When they ARE bold enough to call and ask the question, we can share a response that Lain gave one day: “If you have a metric that you used to warrant calling us, we can use that same metric to determine if it worked”.
Never, have they had one, or required one, and then, they go on to become one of our clients. Why? Humans know when they need to improve relationships, culture, mood, etc. and it comes from our good old-fashioned senses. It’s intuitive, but data driven minds want that reassurance to justify their risk. Just like any investment, when the data is available to the masses, it no longer provides the competitive advantage, the unique, cutting-edge opportunity. Our programs were not created from data. They were created by senses – watching, sniffing around, and listening to the struggles of leaders, teams and business. These are the same reasons people call us and why many trust their investment to us.
Could we get all scientific with our programs? Probably, but science can spoil art and art needs no metric. So, we rely on our senses and so should you. If we wait around for the science to be pure enough, the opportunity will be gone.
When I’m skeptical, I re-read, or hear in my mind, the anecdotal feedback we’ve had from hundreds of thousands of participants around the world for the last 21 years. This is the evidence that our work DOES have a dramatic impact on the bottom line of business. The belief that this is true is critical for our work. The insecurity that it might not be, is what drives me mad with creativity, innovation and determination to make it so.